By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
May 3, 2013
In April, Emirates Airlines signed a five-year deal to sponsor the French Open, starting next weekend in Paris. With the deal, the airline is set to challenge French bank BNP Paribas, title sponsor of the French Open, the tournament at Indian Wells, a fall ATP event in Paris, and the Madison Square Garden “Showdown,” as tennis’ top benefactor.
Emirates already had a strong tennis presence via its title sponsorship of the summer U.S. Open Series, a Platinum Partner agreement with the ATP Tour, and premium deals with the Rogers Cup, BNL d’Italia, and the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The airlines’ French Open deal includes branding at Centre Court Philippe-Chatrier, signage and boxes, and a private VIP lounge at Roland Garros Village.
While no French Open financial information was made public, Emirates’ U.S. Open Series title deal is worth about $90 million over seven years. In contrast, BNP Paribas is thought to spend about $51 million in tennis annually, based on data from 2010.